Home additions and renovations can be purposeful, aesthetic, functional, or a need that strikes deeper into your personal idea of living space. Perhaps you’re building a guest cottage, new garage, or outbuilding; adding a deck; installing a pool; or upgrading the bedrooms and bathrooms to better reflect the current situation and age of your family.
Although the specifics of each of these undertakings may vary, the same underlying principles apply to each of them, so we’re sharing six tips for tackling home addition projects the right way.
How to get started with a home addition
Home additions can boost the value of the home while enhancing aesthetics and functionality. In fact, home additions and renovations can be among the most effective ways to increase your home’s value, and you can tailor the construction to your particular stage in life in a way that is customized to your needs and wants.
To transform your home addition ideas into a completed project, there are a few steps to consider first:
• Create a plan
• Set a clear budget
• Work with trusted professionals
• Decide what parts of your home addition you can do yourself
• Research and obtain permits
• Fund your project
Create a Plan for Your Home Addition
Perhaps you’re adding an extra bedroom and bathroom to the back of your house for a place for guests to stay. As part of the process, you’ll need to first make sure that the addition will fit within your property lines; you’ll also want to check with your local government to see how closely codes in your city allow you to build next to someone else’s property.
While creating your home addition plan, also ensure that any construction will not interfere with utility lines or pipes, as well as whether the structural changes you’re considering will fit into the framing and foundation of your building.
As you design the bedroom and bathroom, think about them from two perspectives: first, how these rooms will add value to your living space; then, how the construction will impact the outside of your home, architecturally speaking.
You’ll also need detailed plans drawn up by an architect or builder that describe the scope of the work and the materials needed. To consider how home additions may increase the value of your home, discover the resale value of your next real estate improvement project with our Home Project Value Estimator.
One strategy to approaching home additions is to create your dream list, then have alternate choices in mind if your budget, material availability, or other external factors create a need to alter the project down the road. For example, you may love the look of marble flooring, but its price point might be higher than you’d initially estimated—or perhaps it doesn’t blend in with the rest of your house once you’ve started laying out the plans. Having a back-up plan—and one that’s cost-efficient at that—could help keep your budget in check.
According to HomeAdvisor.com , home additions can typically cost anywhere from $14,000 to $150,000, with the average home addition cost being $40,915. This figure doesn’t take into account factors like where you live, the size and scope of your addition, or the slope of your property, all of which can vary across the country. Plus, if you want your addition to blend in with the rest of your house, you also may need to plan for improvements in existing rooms.
Set a Clear Budget for Your Home Addition
According to HouseLogic.com , major upgrades like a bathroom remodel or family-room addition typically run $100 to $200 per square foot; sometimes, they can cost much more. This article recommends that you set a budget for your home addition by first obtaining bids from three professionals, then adding in 15 to 20 percent to the overall project price given by the contractor to cover unforeseen costs.
If the ballpark figure is too high and doesn’t align with your budget, then you might want to look at alternative choices for materials that will still give you the general renovation you desire. You could also scale back on your plans or save some of the more costly home addition projects for the future when your budget allows.
If you intend to work with a specific contractor, then your chosen company may be able to help you find lower-cost options—for example, replacing granite countertops with laminate ones—and offer creative solutions gleaned from years of industry experience. Or you may want to look at reducing the scope of your project to a smaller addition or even asking the contractor for competitive pricing for the off-season.
Work with Trusted Professionals
Whether you do some of the home addition work yourself or plan to have the professionals of your choice build the addition, it’s crucial that you hire the right contractor for your needs. Tips for working with contractors include:
• Get three to six bids, then research companies that seem like good matches. You can check for information about these contractors at LinkedIn , Angie’s List , and the Better Business Bureau . Have any complaints been filed at your state’s contractor board? (You can find state-by-state licensing requirements for contractors here .)
For contractors who interest you, reach out to references they provide for personal experiences from past clients.
• Be wary of suspiciously low bids. If a quote comes in significantly lower than that of the other contractors who bid your home addition project, it’s possible that contractor may not understand exactly what you want; this can lead to significant problems if you hire this company without clarifying specifics.
• Hire a contractor who you think you can work well with, but don’t base your decision largely on emotion.
Decide What Parts of Your Home Addition You Can Do Yourself
Say the home addition ideas you have are necessary to solve space problems, perhaps you’re having a baby, or maybe your mother is moving in with you—but you’ve got to find a way to adjust the costs of a home addition. In this case, it might make sense to figure out what you can do yourself.
If you’ve got the experience needed to do the demo work safely without damaging load-bearing walls, electrical wires, and the like, this can save you some money on labor. If you’ve got professional-level skills in plumbing or drywall, you might talk to your contractor about taking on those tasks yourself and further reducing the cost of labor. Or you can attempt the finish work, such as sanding walls, painting, and general cleanup.
Research & Obtain Permitting Requirements
Unfortunately, a home addition isn’t as simple as deciding what you want to do, saving up, then paying for the work. You also need to make sure your home is appropriately zoned for the home addition or remodel. Depending on the scope of the project, you may or may not need a permit.
For example, if you want to build a deck in some states, you need a permit if you intend for it to be more than 30 inches off the ground. Getting to know your local codes can help surmount significant hurdles as the project unfolds, which often will save time and money for homeowners.
Strategically Fund Your Project
To find materials for your home addition on a budget, you could shop at stores like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore , attend auctions, or explore similar options to find salvaged materials. Before you go this route, though, if you’re employing a contractor, make sure he is willing to work with recycled materials and ones that may not be standard size.
When adding a room to a house that’s a higher priced project, it might be tempting to use credit cards to pay for expenses. If you’re doing this to maintain a record of your spending or to take advantage of credit card reward points, this can be a good strategy provided you can pay off the balance quickly, ideally within a single billing cycle.
But when you can’t pay off the balances, it can be easy to get caught up in a spiral of debt, and credit card debt is especially challenging. Why?
Credit card companies typically charge compound interest on the current balances on your accounts, which means they charge interest on the accrued interest—in other words, there is interest that’s continually being calculated on a daily basis and added to your balance until you pay it off in full.
To find out how compound interest is affecting your outstanding balances, you can use our credit card interest calculator.
Getting a Home Improvement Loans for Your Home Addition
Consider getting a home improvement loan for your home addition project. At SoFi, we offer competitive rate home improvement loans that can allow you to focus less on your budget and more on building your dreams.
Benefits of choosing SoFi for your personal loan for your home improvements include:
• A quick process: You’re anxious to get started (who wouldn’t be?) and, on average, it takes only seven days from online approval to funding, allowing you to transform your home addition plans into reality soon.
• Fixed payments: This is ideal for budgeting purposes.
• Absolutely no fees: No surprises, no hidden fees, no catches. None.
When it comes to our personal loans, they are 100% fee-free. Plus, the application process is fast and easy, conveniently online, and you have access to live customer support seven days a week.
If you lose your job, we can pause your payments temporarily, and even help you to find a new job.
A home addition can increase the value of your real estate while also allowing you to retrofit your house to your current lifestyle. There are many factors that figure into a big decision like a renovation, and it’s important to consider it from as many angles as possible.
With a quick online application process and lower rates than most credit cards, SoFi personal loans can help you make your house a dream home. Check your rate in just two minutes.
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